At the end of each year, my partner and I sit and reflect on the highs and lows of what life had in the year prior. We enjoy reminiscing on experiences both together and alone, as well as setting goals for who we want to be. This year is especially significant for us as even though we continued pandemic living, we also made the decision to uproot ourselves and our business and relocate halfway away across the country. As my partner asked me what part of 2021 I enjoyed most, I became emotional.
I read somewhere once that friendship is the best gift you could have, and this year proves that to me. As an adult, it’s hard to find other people you just inherently click with. There are obstacles such as political beliefs, time constraints, and family obligations, not to mention straight-up personality differences. But this year, I made deep connections. Humans who actually understood me at a fundamental level and supported me inherently.
I strengthened a relationship with a local friend. She supported me through my dad’s cancer diagnosis and the loss of my cat in a terrible way. She encouraged me to take risks and also called me out when I needed it I reconnected with a friend from high school. She laughed with me over high school crushes and pictures of us being ‘cool.’ She reminds me to take time for myself and enjoy my hobbies to the fullest. I’ve made new friends. People who forced me to examine myself and my belief systems in ways I would not have challenged them before.
I also lost friends this year. Some by choice. As I grew and changed as a person, I realized not all relationships are created the same, and not all are worthy of being watered.
6 key reminders that have stuck out when reflecting on my friendships
- Not all friendships will be for me. I learned people can be great on paper, but you just do not vibe with them no matter how hard you try. It’s okay to have things and common but still not want to spend time together!
- Friendships don’t have to be deep to be meaningful. Some of my most memorable moments have been lighter this year. Laughing about a silly joke. Commiserating over ridiculous decisions in my PhD program. Small moments with more casual friends, but exactly what I needed at that moment.
- Friend break-ups are just as hard, if not harder, than relationship break-ups. I ended a friendship that I didn’t think I’d have to, and even though it was by choice, I was really shaken up. I asked for advice from my support system, I journaled about it, and I talked about it in therapy.
- Just like finding your people can feel as loving as finding your partner/s. I love my partner, don’t get me wrong. But being able to reach out on a bad day to talk about something with another person aside from him, and getting just as significant of support reminds me just as much of how important it is to find your group.
- Connection is significant when it comes to battling depression. My partner is active duty military, so we’ve not always been stationary. I have absolutely hated previous environments, and upon reflection, I can see that is because I didn’t have anyone to share my life with. It’s more than just existing together, it’s about really doing life together. My mood is positive and uplifting significantly more than previous.
- Sometimes we need others to show us ugly truths about ourselves. I took a lot of risks this year—both personally and professionally. Thank god I had a crew of people to tell me when I was being an idiot or not being congruent with myself, or I would have been in a really bad spot.
This year has been hard as we try to finally escape COVID and our own four walls. But for me, it has also been powerful. I have never felt so appreciated, safe, and understood.
To the friends I have—I hope I’ve shown you the same graciousness and care you’ve shown me this year. To the friends, I’ll make—I look forward to our experiences. Thank you so much for the love and growth.
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